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Lecture 7

Lecture 7- Parliament and Canadian Society.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Christopher Cochrane

Canadian Government Lecture 7: Parliament and Canadian Society Embedded Democracy • State-Society relationship: Society is a vast monolith, and much smaller is the state (parliament, courts, etc.). Politics is the state society relationship, but no one takes it seriously. In Democracy the Society gives inputs to the state and the state creates policies from that, creating a feedback onto society. This is the stylized theory. Embeddedness is the more actualized theory that says the state is embedded within society. • No matter the country they are in, politicians, advisors, judges, civil servants, and student in this class are all people. They all think and act relatively the same. When looking at politics look at the behavioral foundations or human behavior of it. Things we think about having value (money) only exist because we believe that they exist, but really it is nothing. o The state plays a part in the social construction of reality. An example of this is the clearing that is made through a forest that shows the Canada-US border. Other than the border there is no geographically interesting thing. The border is a social construction, and all states have them. Another example of state construction is money, census categories (race), and citizenships. o Institutions shape people, including the kinds of things that think they are important. Sociological institutionism is when there are certain rules that are put in place that shape how we define our interests (getting a good grade). State shape institutions. o State institutions shape, for example, group identities. Social psychology is put into effect here that gives us fierce group loyalties. An example is defending the Catholic Church when you don’t even go to church anymore. Another example is veterans being given certain entitlements for fighting in the war. The very category ‘veteran’ or ‘Quebecois’ or race is a state construction. • Politics and society’s relationship is complicated and messy, and you know you’re wrong when you think you have figured it out. Getting to Parliament • Canada has an electoral system, which refers to the sets of rules, or institutions that translate the number of people into seats of the office. Our system is called a Single Member Plurality (SMP) System. This means that the country is divided up into constituencies, which hold their own elections, and one person gets elected at the end. The rules of the elections of each constituency say that the winner gets a seat. The country is divided into 308 seats. • Becoming a candidate has many rules. With few exceptions (e.g. judges, senators, MLAs, inmates, and those convicted of violated the elections act), anybody who can vote is allowed to run (this is a big democratic rule). o Once you realize you are eligib
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